Yep, that’s all she wrote. IMO this is the funniest (and pithiest) review I’ve ever gotten. The disgust in her tone is so clear that I laugh every time I see that review. Do I agree with her? Nope, I don’t think I’ve ever written a dumb book. Certainly I’ve written some that were better than others, but to my mind Dark Star is an excellent book, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
And yes, I’ve gotten reviews that don’t make me laugh. Reviews that were mean spirited or inaccurate. I’ve even had authors send their flying monkeys after me. Some have pissed me off, and y’all know I can be hot headed, but I learned long ago that it’s unprofessional to respond to a review. Let alone the lengths that crazy woman in The Guardian article went to. I know it’s a common trope that we authors think of these books as our children. (Don’t ask me where that comes from, after all, we don’t sell our children! At least I hope not. To me it ranks right up there with that “I would write for free bullshit. No hell I wouldn’t!) But they are like our children in one way only; once we launch them into the world there’s nothing we can do about how the world receives them. It’s crucial that we as professionals recognize this fact, and, if nothing else, get some friends who will reign you in when the crazy strikes. Because, damn,
So there’s a thread over at Goodreads on the IR Fan board (The most misnamed group on Goodreads) where the poster laments the lack of response from readers on the Kristen Ashley board to her request that the author write a black heroine. I haven’t read Kristen Ashley before, but given that another commenter had another thread questioning whether she should stop reading the author because of the way she stereotypes black women, I think it’s a strange request.
Apparently this need to have “mainstream = white” authors writing IR books is a major issue, so I have to ask the burning question, Why? I don’t post on this particular group, or really any group on Goodreads, anymore because of this shitshow. So I thought I’d bring it to my blog.
My experience with white authors writing black characters as been mostly negative. Even some authors I really like, like Patricia Briggs, have some major issues with her non-white characters. I stopped reading SEP because of her portrayal of black people in her football series. Yet, we constantly hear lamentations from readers that they want white authors to include more POC. I understand this from white people, it makes sense that they would want white authors as that’s more to their comfort zone. I stopped fighting that battle long ago. I find it troubling though, that apparently black readers seem to prefer it as well. We’ve all heard the tales of black authors at conventions where nobody, not even the black readers come over to have their books signed.
And even when someone on that thread commented that perhaps readers should simply support the writers who DO want to write black characters, the naysayers arose. No, they can’t let writers get away with that. They must be compelled to write POC even if they don’t want to. Even if they’ve said outright that they don’t think their readers will buy the books. Even if they say they don’t feel up to writing those characters. Am I the only one who sees the crazy in this notion? We, black authors (for the most part) have created this genre from nothing. Nourished it. Nurtured it and brought it along for more than a decade now. But somehow it will only be legitimate when white authors start writing it. Then we will have arrived. Apparently those people over at Dear Author are right, we need white authors to “save” multicultural romance.
I have a strange and painful relationship with reviews. Initially I paid them little to no attention as I felt as a writer they’re not for me, they’re for readers. Then I had a baptismal by fire when someone commented on another writer’s work on Amazon and said that I must be paying reviewers to denigrate that writer. It’s been five years and that still stings like it happened yesterday. Not only is that a violation of my own personal honor code, it’s beneath contempt. Since then I went back to ignoring them until recently. I understand that readers like to read reviews from other readers–I do too, so I get why they’re important. Unfortunately, there are some very petty people out there. If you don’t like my book, hey, I have no beef with that. My style is not for everyone. However, one reader over at Goodreads one-starred all my books because she didn’t like the review I gave one of her fave authors. (Yeah, I know that’s nutty as hell, but hey anonymity give folk the freedom to commit all manner of fucknuttery.) This would be fine, except that I don’t have very many reviews for some of my books. Even if you have three five star reviews a one-star review can make major impact. I’ve done many things in my life, but I don’t think I’ve ever written a one-star book. So once again I’m asking that if you’ve read my book and enjoyed them, please do me a favor and review them at Amazon or Goodreads. You can also review at ARe and Fictionwise if you bought the book on those sites. Word of mouth sells more books than all the advertising and promo in the world and I’ve been loath to ask, but please, please, please do everything you can to help me in this regard. Facebook and Twitter are good as well and posting them on your blogs would be great. Again, thank you ever so much.
…and other third party vendors. I know some of you prefer to buy at sites such as Amazon, ARe and FictionWise, that’s why I get so excited when my books become available at the third party sites. Of course, they’re always available at Loose Id as well. For those of you who’ve read Buttercream (or any of my books) do me a massive favor and review them at Amazon or Goodreads. It makes a huge difference. Remember a review can be just a few sentences. Thanks for your help.